Thomas Otway, 1652–85, English dramatist, educated at Winchester and at Oxford. After failing as an actor, Otway wrote his first play, Alcibiades, produced in 1675. Later plays include the rhymed heroic tragedy Don Carlos (1672); an adaptation of Racine, called Titus and Berenice, (1676); and an adaptation of Molière, called The Cheats of Scapin. (1676). His two greatest plays are the blank-verse tragedies The Orphan (1680) and Venice Preserved (1682). Otway brought a sentimental pathos and romantic beauty to the formal manner of the Restoration heroic tragedy. He died in poverty at age 33.
See biography by R. G. Ham (1931, repr. 1969); studies by H. M. B. Pollard (1974) and D. P. Warner (1982).